Yankees sign journeyman bullpen arm to MiLB deal

matt blake, new york yankees

The New York Yankees could use a bit more diversity in the bullpen, which is why signing right-handed relief pitcher Ian Hamilton to a minor-league contract is quite interesting.

The Bombers only have one lefty bullpen piece in Wandy Peralta, which may pose problems for the squad this season unless they’ve completely dropped the narrative that having decent lefty arms is essential.

Hamilton, 27, spent last season with the Minnesota Twins, pitching just 2.2 innings at the major league level. He recorded a 6.75 ERA across the small sample size, spending much more time in AAA with their affiliate squads. Hamilton has enjoyed playing for the Chicago White Sox, Twins, and Cleveland Guardians throughout his career. His last major league stint was with Chicago in 2020, pitching just 4.0 innings.

Interestingly, Hamilton has had some success at the AAA level, hosting a 1.88 ERA and 3.14 xFIP across 28.2 innings last season. He enjoyed 11.30 strikeouts per nine, 0.94 home runs per nine rate, 78% left on base rate, and 51.6% ground ball rate. He’s got a few decent pitches, notably a slider, 4-seam fastball, and has dabbled with a sinker. His fastball averages out about 94 mph but doesn’t get significant break on any of his primary pitches.

The Yankees are trying to get value out of Ian Hamilton:

Clearly, Hamilton has some untapped potential, given his numbers last season with Minnesota’s affiliate AAA squad, and the Yankees may be willing to invest in his growth.

Sometimes, a minor tweak can be the difference between contributing at the MLB level and being stuck in the minor-league system for eternity. Being 27 years old certainly doesn’t help Hamilton’s case, but he’s young enough to have potential, and the Yankees are taking fliers on cheap players with upside right now, given they are so close to the luxury tax threshold of $293 million.

Unless general manager Brian Cashman manages to offload one of the big contracts bogging down their financial situation, I wouldn’t expect the Yankees to make any significant moves this spring leading up to the regular season in late March.

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